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An Essay on the Origins of Entrepreneurial Opportunity


  • Lawrence Plummer


  • J. Haynie


  • Joy Godesiabois



In this article, we apply a process of logical inference to draw conclusions about the origins of entrepreneurial opportunity from existing conversations in the field of strategic management. We equate the execution of a competitive strategy – as described in the strategic management literature – to the exploitation of an entrepreneurial opportunity – as described in the entrepreneurship literature. Given this assumption, we survey five extant theories of strategy in an attempt to categorize and describe the circumstances that define how and with what consequence entrepreneurial opportunity exploitation results in future opportunity. Given this review, we characterize the `outcomes’ of strategy execution as a function of the ‹match’ between strategy and environment in an effort to extend and refine Holcombe’s [Holcombe, Randall, 2003, Review of Austrian Economics 16(1), 25–43] position that entrepreneurial opportunity is born of prior entrepreneurial action. ‘Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.’ Ovid, A.D. 17 Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence Plummer & J. Haynie & Joy Godesiabois, 2007. "An Essay on the Origins of Entrepreneurial Opportunity," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 363-379, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:28:y:2007:i:4:p:363-379
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-006-9036-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    2. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    3. Holcombe, Randall G, 2003. "The Origins of Entrepreneurial Opportunities," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 16(1), pages 25-43, March.
    4. Gaglio, Connie Marie & Katz, Jerome A, 2001. "The Psychological Basis of Opportunity Identification: Entrepreneurial Alertness," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 95-111, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Gries & Stefan Jungblut & Wim Naudé, 2016. "The entrepreneurship Beveridge curve," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 12(2), pages 151-165, June.
    2. Wood, Matthew S. & McKelvie, Alexander & Haynie, J. Michael, 2014. "Making it personal: Opportunity individuation and the shaping of opportunity beliefs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 252-272.
    3. Michael Hilb & Tomas Casas, 2015. "Towards a construct of entrepreneurial strategising: the case of private equity," International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 84-101.
    4. Crawford, G. Christopher & Aguinis, Herman & Lichtenstein, Benyamin & Davidsson, Per & McKelvey, Bill, 2015. "Power law distributions in entrepreneurship: Implications for theory and research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 696-713.
    5. Jason Arentz & Frederic Sautet & Virgil Storr, 2013. "Prior-knowledge and opportunity identification," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 461-478, August.
    6. Tischler, Joachim, 2014. "Characteristics of technological base, pace of technological development, and growth of young technology-based firms," EconStor Preprints 96156, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    7. Matthew S. Wood & David W. Williams, 2014. "Opportunity Evaluation as Rule-Based Decision Making," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 573-602, June.
    8. repec:krk:eberjl:v:4:y:2016:i:3:p:131-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nerine Mary George & Vinit Parida & Tom Lahti & Joakim Wincent, 2016. "A systematic literature review of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition: insights on influencing factors," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 309-350, June.
    10. repec:krk:eberjl:v:4:y:2016:i:3:p:181-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Yao-Wen Hsu, 2010. "Staging of venture capital investment: a real options analysis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 265-281, October.

    More about this item


    entrepreneurial opportunity; strategy; uncertainty; D80; L10; L26; M13;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups


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